Ironworks – ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist
Learn more about 2023 ULI Americas Awards for Excellence Finalist, Ironworks (Vancouver, Canada).
April 25, 2023
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Developer: Tower Grove Park
Designers: Lamar Johnson Collaborative; Biohabitats; David Mason Associates; Xsense; Derek Prior Design
Owner’s Representative: Navigate Building Solutions
Site Size: 5 Acres
Building on the Tower Grove Park Master Plan, the East Stream Restoration was selected for the design and implementation. During the Master Planning Process, park leadership carefully mapped the park’s future, curating select projects within the rich historic fabric to enhance. The restoration of the east stream presented the park with a unique opportunity to explore the nexus of historic Victorian park design and forward-thinking resilient infrastructure development. The east stream was piped in the early 1900s and the park had continued to evolve as a public park and arboretum ever since. Once the design team was selected a one-year design schedule was started to rediscover the east stream and integrate it into the existing fabric of the park. Accounting for 110 years of change since the stream was buried, the design team emphasized existing conditions and data collection early in the project, allowing this to guide the hands of the design team over the following months. Funding for the project, including a generous endowment gift for ongoing maintenance, was provided by the Crawford Taylor Foundation, members of the Kindle and Taylor families, and MSD Project Clear.
A meandering path leading visitors from the Stupp Center to an existing grove of maple trees, and savanna plantings draw visitors forward with enticing seasonal interest. As you near the maple grove, savanna plantings emerge on either side of the path drawing you forward to the edge of the canopy. Here successional tree plantings ensure the future health of the forested area. Continuing along the path the headwaters of the stream reveals themselves to visitors. Flanked by three red oak trees, three granite pillars rest in a calm reflecting pool proudly marking the birth of the Nee Kee Nee, which is a name that was bestowed upon it by the sage Elders and means “Revived Waters”. A button-activated water feature charges the upper reach of the East Stream, activating a nature play area. Stormwater from the surrounding neighborhoods is daylit and joins the water from the adventure play area at the beginning of the middle reach. In addition to recreation and play opportunities this provides educational opportunities to the community. The Missouri Department of Conservation was consulted during the design of the stream in order to facilitate outdoor learning opportunities throughout the corridor. In addition to guided tours relating to plants, hydrology and history, the stream corridor will serve as an important cultural destination for the Osage Nation. The scaled village represents the only physical example of this village layout in the country. Stones representing the clans of the tribe, a full-scale lodge outline and a multitude of symbology throughout the project will serve as a cultural destination for the Osage Nation.
Here, the stream meanders through 5 acres of native Missouri savanna, wet meadow, and emergent wetland habitat, charging a treatment train of bioretention basins. Each basin fills to capacity, treating the water and allowing excess to move on to the next basin. A scaled Osage village and full-size lodge footprint are nestled in a mature sweetgum grove in the middle reach. As visitors enter the third leg of the stream, they find themselves in a gathering space surrounded by native plantings, overlooking the basin area of the restoration. The basin features two bioretention areas that can be controlled with valves to sustain water and create a wetland experience.
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